CBD (Cannabidiol) has recently gained incredible popularity on store shelves, e-commerce websites, and even large drug stores in the past year or so. However, there is still some division for users of CBD regarding the extraction process and from which plant each individual CBD is derived. Being that CBD can be derived from two far different plants of the same family, marijuana or hemp, it’s important for consumers to understand what the difference means on the store shelves and in the CBD they are consuming.
Hemp plants and cannabis plants, though seemingly very similar, vary in a number of key ways. Firstly, hemp plants (Cannabis Sativa), are thinner in their foliage and stems are are typically cultivated for that thinner fiber and edible seeds. That is also where the CBD is derived from. Hemp plants also must contain less than 0.3% of THC (tetrahydracannabinol), the psycho active component found in Marijuana, to be considered hemp. So CBD extracted from hemp is done so from a plant with no or minimal THC.
Marijuana plants on the other hand traditionally grow much larger “buds”, have thicker leaves and stems, and also produce seeds. Though THC is one of the main chemical components of marijuana, there are many strains which are also rich in CBD. CBD that is derived from marijuana plants, like that derived from hemp plants, still has no THC. On a molecular level the CBD extracted from hemp and marijuana plants is identical, there is no difference.
So that means that CBD is CBD. To end users it actually is not important from which plant varietal the CBD was extracted, because there is no difference. There are however more differences between the plants themselves which doesn’t mean changes to the CBD content. That main difference is the amount of resin each plant contains. Where as marijuana plants typically contain large amount of sticky and powerful resin, hemp plants do not carry that sort of resin abundance.
A more important aspect regarding where CBD is derived from is contamination. Hemp is a naturally phytoremedial plant that actually removed toxins, pollutants, chemicals and heavy metals from top soil. Meaning that not from which plant variety but from where and how the plants are grown is important to consider. Places like China, for example, have far less strict regulations when it comes to the large agricultural industry. This can mean that CBD derived from China grown hemp plants may have far higher levels of toxins and contaminants than those produced more locally here in Canada or the United States.
Contaminants pose the risk of showing up in varying degrees in the CBD that some users will be consuming. That is why it is very important to know where and how the CBD you are going to consume comes from. CBD that is derived from Chinese grown hemp plants should be scrutinized far more than those produced here under stricter conditions in North America. This will ensure that you are getting the best quality CBD with the fewest amounts of pollutants and contaminants.
So, Hemp or Marijuana CBD?
As we have seen above CBD is CBD and it doesn’t really matter which plant variety is used for the extraction process. But this doesn’t mean that marijuana derived CBD is as readily available as that derived from hemp. This is because there can be different laws regarding the growth, regulation, and sale of marijuana as opposed to hemp. Where as here in Canada marijuana has been legalized for recreational use, in the United States it is done via individual states. That means there will be varying amounts of Marijuana or Hemp derived CBD available in these markets.
When it comes down to it, the more “full-spectrum” hemp that is used the greater the range of components in the CBD and therefore a wider spectrum of chemicals. So, where possible you should be looking for organically grown full spectrum CBD products, that way you’ll get the best purity with the lowest levels of contamination.